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Wicked Nerdery

Where psychology, pop culture, and true crime collide

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the walking dead

Is The Walking Dead’s Negan a Psychopath?

With the seventh season of The Walking Dead approaching there’s one name on every fan’s lips…Negan. Love or hate him, there’s no doubt he’s going to make a serious impact (no pun intended) on the post-apocalyptic world. He’s charming enough to amass a large group of followers, brutal enough to keep numerous communities under his thumb, and smart enough to lure Rick and his crew into a deadly trap. Given these characteristics and his seeming delight in cruelty it’s understandable that one of the more frequent labels thrown at him is psychopath.

The question is: Is that an appropriate label for the leader of The Saviors?

If we look at a key tool in diagnosing psychopaths – the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) – and compare Negan’s behavior (in the show and comics) we might find our answer…

(Note: Going forward there will be spoilers for the comic…Possibly the show.)

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ABC’s of Surviving a Convention

I recently had the opportunity to go to the Walker Stalker Convention 2016 in Boston…if the name isn’t clue enough, it’s a fan convention geared towards The Walking Dead universe and the horror genre in general.  It’s only the second convention I’ve been to – the first was PAXEast 2015 – and first where I took the opportunity to truly interact with celebrity guests and other fans.  I had a great experience all around and am glad I went; enough that I hope to grab myself a two day pass next time and would absolutely attend other conventions in the future.

Obviously, two experiences makes me a novice, at best, but I’d like to share certain things that I discovered during said experiences.  You can call them survival tips for the soul if you like, or merely suggestions to get the most enjoyment out of your day…I call them: The ABC’s of Conventions.

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Hero to Villain: The Journey of Rick Grimes Continues

Last August, before the start of the sixth season, I wrote a piece concerning whether or not Rick Grimes had become a villain using the definition created by Chuck Klosterman in his book, I Wear the Black Hat.  According to Klosterman a villain is someone who knows the most, but cares the least.  Using that interpretation I went with yes.  Or, at least, “yeah, kinda”.  He had gone from a man who knew little of what was happening in the world, but was deeply disturbed by it, to a man who’d seen way too much and no longer cared about those around him (outside his core group, but even then he would disregard their feelings and thoughts in favor of his own).  I ended on a note of hope that Rick could change, go back to the more heroic guy he once was.

So, with a season passed, has anything changed?  Has Rick been redeemed in the arms of Alexandria?  A little, perhaps, but not really.  While he’s certainly getting along better with others, managed to see the Alexandrians as his people, it took some extreme events to have that happen and he’s generally not any kinder or gentler to those he still considers not “his people”.  The biggest difference, really, is that those around him have (mostly) stopped opposing him.  The original Alexandria citizens have stopped questioning him; when he says “this is how it has to be”, that is how it has to be.  Nowadays Rick might not be considered a villain only because everyone else is just as bad…or there’s someone who’s worse, who knows more and cares even less, like Negan and his Saviors.

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Walker Apocalypse Love

Lately there’s been a lot of coupling going on in the Walker apocalypse.  Maybe it’s that Rick’s people are starting to settle into a fair sense of security or maybe it’s because love and romance always raise the stakes in a TV show…Or maybe it’s just psychosocially accurate.  Over the years there have been studies showing that intense situations and intense conversations can make those around you more attractive.  When someone is keyed up, scared, in fear for their safety and/or life, they fall into attraction more easily and more strongly than when not…basically, when you’re fighting for survival in the apocalypse you’re way more likely to fall in love too.  Simply being close to someone on a near constant basis can also cause attraction, just as being exposed to a person over and over can.  Really, it’s no wonder those on The Walking Dead are pairing up like those in an ark.

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The Trouble with WHY Tough Women Have Traumatic Pasts

In the previous post I described some various ways in which tough women inevitably have traumatic pasts, but so what?  I mean, sure, that’s strange and all, but there are lots of tropes out there in the pop culture world.  True…but not all of them indicate a key issue that still plagues the world of entertainment and beyond.  Inequality.

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Tough Women Have Traumatic Pasts

It takes a special kind of woman to be as tough as the men and in pop culture it takes one with a traumatic past.  Something that’s hardened her enough to hang with the guys, do a “man’s” job, and perform those tasks most often considered masculine in nature.  The trauma itself is not always the same – domestic violence, sexual abuse and rape, the death of a parent at a very early age – but the results are.  Someone tough and determined enough to live and succeed in a male-dominated world, but never without some terribly painful past that underlines she’s still the “softer” sex. 

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Why Walkers Might Have Herpes

Some of the forever asked and never answered questions in the Walking Dead universe are: How did this happen?  Where did the Walker virus come from? (and) What is it, exactly?  Because these questions remain unanswered there’s plenty of opportunity to speculate by fans and it seems every other person out there has a theory.  As a fan I am no different…what probably is different is my theory.  My own personal theory about the Walker virus has to do with herpes.

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Hero to Villain: The Journey of Rick Grimes?

In his book I Wear the Black Hat Chuck Klosterman defines a villain as someone who “knows the most, but cares the least”.  Makes sense.  The hero often knows only a fraction of what the villain does and one already assumes the hero cares the most while the villain cares little if at all.  As a story progresses the hero may learn more, but usually that only pushes him or her to care all the more.  This definition can also become rather dynamic if, by the end, it is the hero that knows the most, but cares the least.  Has hero become villain?  For example: Could Walking Dead’s Rick Grimes be considered a villain at the end of Season 5??  …Perhaps…

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Continue reading “Hero to Villain: The Journey of Rick Grimes?”

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